Gala Raises $712,000 for the Childhood Immunization Initiative
Close to 650 guests and 65 volunteers enjoyed a magical, Indian-themed gala in downtown Seattle on October 25 to benefit the Childhood Immunization Initiative. The Gift of Health Gala is a signature Group Health event that includes community, health care, and Group Health participants from across the state.
The event, inspired by the majesty and infused with the flavors of India, was filled with music and dancing, and will be remembered most for the focus on helping to promote childhood immunization across our state. The evening's program had a special focus on preventing cancers caused by human papillomavirus (HPV), which can be prevented with a series of three vaccinations for boys and girls at age 11 or 12.
Former governor Christine Gregoire was presented with the 2014 Innovators in Health Award. Past recipients include Group Health Founder, Aubrey Davis, and Paul Offit, MD, last year's winner. In her address, Gregoire thanked Group Health for helping to lead health care policy in Washington state and encouraged guests to give generously to help improve HPV vaccination rates.
Yolanda Richardson, MD, a Group Health OB/GYN, made a moving appeal to create a world free of HPV-related cancers. Virtually all sexually active adults will contract HPV at some point in their lives; most will clear the virus with no consequences. But 27,000 men and women will develop HPV-related cancers, and about 6,000 will die as a result. Richardson urged attendees to "start a movement" to end HPV-related cancers.
Thanks to attendees, raffle participation, event sponsors, and volunteers, the Foundation raised $712,000 to promote childhood immunization across our state.